Max Verstappen yet again exhibited his dominance against rivals, Mercedes, at the Austrian Grand Prix to secure his fifth F1 race win this season. Valtteri Bottas finally found respite in his struggled-induced season to secure P2, ahead of Lando Norris, who drove an impressive race to secure his 3rd podium of the season.
Lewis Hamilton drove his heart out only to see the chequered flag in P4, which Mercedes will very much be happy with, considering the Briton suffered significant damage to his car.
Carlos Sainz, despite finishing behind Sergio Perez, managed to secure P5, as the latter was carrying two 5-second penalties for forcing Charles Leclerc twice off the track.
Race start at Spielberg
It was a clean start from most of the grid, barring Esteban Ocon, who suffered suspension damage after colliding with Antonio Giovinazzi around turn 3. The Frenchman parked his car just off the track, forcing the stewards to opt for a safety car.
The drivers then went racing on lap 4, and this time it was Perez, who suffered a substantial blow after Norris forced the Red Bull driver onto the gravel around turn 4.
Consequently, the Mexican ended up in P10. Behind the top 4, AlphaTauri and Aston Martin drivers made a brilliant start, as the 4 drivers held onto positions from P5 to P8.
The first round of pit stops and penalties
Gasly was the first driver to pit for a set of hard tires on lap 14, followed by Tsunoda and Stroll over the following lap. The only driver that was yet to box on soft tires was Vettel, who ultimately pitted on lap 18 for a set of hard tires.
On lap 20, the stewards awarded Norris a 5-second penalty for forcing Perez off the track during the safety car restart, which ended up being a massive blow on his podium hopes. Similarly, Giovinazzi and Tsunoda, too, suffered time penalties.
On lap 31, Ricciardo was the first driver amongst the ones running on harder compounds to pit for a set of hard tires followed by his own McLaren teammate and Bottas.
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Norris’ penalty meant that the Finn beat him to P3. Meanwhile, Hamilton opted for a fresh set of tires on lap 32, with his title rival taking up his stop on lap 33.
The other Red Bull driver entered the pits on lap 34, but a 3.1s stop denied the Mexican any gain in positions. Thankfully, despite the poor stop, Perez managed to make the jump on Leclerc when the Ferrari driver pitted on lap 36.
Raikkonen, who was running in P6, finally pitted on lap 38 after an impressive stint on medium tires. Eventually, it was time for Sainz to stop as the last driver on the track on lap 51.
Latter half of the race & the chequered flag
Gasly, who pitted early on in the race, created a huge train of cars between himself in P6 till Leclerc in P9. During the intense battle, Perez ended up forcing the Monegasque off the track around turn 4 and unsurprisingly burdened himself with a 5-second penalty.
Gasly, the leader of the train, finally made his second stop, letting the drivers finally pushing on with their much fresher tires.
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Meanwhile, Norris inched closer to the Mercedes drivers, forcing the Brackley outfit to swap Hamilton with Bottas. But, that wasn’t enough to save the Briton from Norris, as the latter pulled off a superb move on Hamilton around turn 6.
Subsequently, Hamilton dropped into the pits for a fresh set of tires, hoping to push for a late charge on Norris, and even Bottas. However, the damage to his car denied that from happening.
There was finally a huge incident on the very final lap, as Raikkonen crashed into Vettel around turn 6, leaving the two way down the order.
F1 Driver’s standings
Max Verstappen – 182
Lewis Hamilton – 150
Sergio Perez – 104
Lando Norris – 101
Valtteri Bottas – 92
Charles Leclerc – 62
Carlos Sainz – 60
Daniel Ricciardo – 40
Pierre Gasly – 39
Sebastian Vettel – 30
Fernando Alonso – 20
Lance Stroll – 14
Esteban Ocon – 12
Yuki Tsunoda – 9
Kimi Raikkonen – 1
Antonio Giovinazzi – 1
George Russell – 0
Mick Schumacher – 0
Nikita Mazepin – 0
Nicholas Latifi- 0
F1 constructor’s standings
Red Bull Racing Honda – 286
Mercedes – 242
McLaren Mercedes – 141
Ferrari – 122
AlphaTauri Honda – 48
Aston Martin Mercedes – 44
Alpine Renault – 32
Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari – 2
Williams Mercedes – 0
Haas Ferrari – 0
Overall, the Austrian Grand Prix bids adieu to the first triple-header of the 2021 F1 season, which ended up being quite impressive, barring the rather dull Styrian Grand Prix.
Now, the fans will have to wait a couple of weeks out to welcome the British Grand Prix, which will also witness F1 hosting a sprint race qualifying for the first time.